iO Sounds – ‘You/Me’ (Diamond & Raw)

Stepping up for Edinburgh imprint Diamond & Raw’s second release is London based iO Sounds (formerly iO). Known to his milkman as Rob Burn, the 24 year old puts his latest creation to wax for only the second time in an already comprehensive career.

Entitled the ‘You/Me’ EP, the release features two original tracks from Burn and four remixes by Mak & Pasteman, Forget Me Not, Lakosa and Ado respectively. The extensive reworking that’s gone into the EP is surely credit to the versatility of the originals provided by iO, with many other commentators commending his ability to combine seemingly heartfelt melodies and undertones with dance floor bound beats and basslines.

The title track, ‘You/Me’, expresses the previous notion appropriately – incorporating smooth pads and emotive chords with a hard running and engaging beat bassline combo. Unlike a lot of club bound arrangements, Burn has again engineered his sound in a way that makes it accessible for the solo listener, bridging the gap between house undertones and garage beats per minute, ‘You/Me’ gives off an approachable intensity that works nicely.

Remix numero uno on the EP comes from Leeds/Nottingham duo, Mak & Pasteman. On first listen, that is, immediately after hearing the original, it sounds as though the boys have hollowed out the track somewhat, adding a more defined bass drum and acuter high end, but overall keeping to the essence of the original quite sufficiently.

Next on the rework list is fellow Diamond & Raw advocate, Forget Me Not. The Bristol-based trio has layered the track in typical fashion, applying heavy bass and a somewhat haunting tone to the track. I prefer this version to the prior, simply because it progresses to a greater extent and incorporates a more complex web of sounds. Good, subtle work on the percussive side of things and again keeping to the original essence of the track make for a solid remix.

‘Dirty Little Secret’, the other original on the EP from Burn follows next. High paced and a true roller, ‘DLS’ seems to expand on what ‘You/Me’ started out with. The two compliment each other nicely and further cement the iO Sounds sound in an almost continuous motion. The track really moves within itself, progressing aptly to an anticipatory middle break, and then returning to a slightly rearranged beat down. In all, a very well structured piece.

Lakosa then takes stage to tell us his own ‘Dirty Little Secret’. The man from the midlands brings down the pace but doesn’t skimp on the content. And It’s no surprise to see him on the EP, having worked with the former iO on MadTech release ‘Home Early’ back in August 2012. A solid house tempo interpretation, the track lends itself nicely to ears of those with a more down tempo prerogative – utilising the samples and parts provided by iO to their full extent.

And finally, ‘You/Me’ takes another mix up by electronically minded Ado – an addition not appearing on the vinyl release but made available on digital. I can’t say this is particularly my cup of coffee but I can see that Ado has splashed his electro juices all over the track in a ‘true to self’ kind of manner. In my opinion, it’s way over saturated with screaming synth keys and moves too far away from the rest of the EP, however I suppose it does add a bit of variety! Not for me but I know there are those out there who’ll dig it.

Overall a good addition to the iO Sounds sound that seems to be gaining weight as of late and certainly a good second run out for the Diamond & Raw boys – both ones to watch.

Will Edge

The ‘You/Me’ EP is made available on vinyl from the 13th of May 2013, with the digital release following on the 25th.

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